The founder and CEO of Full Tilt Poker, Raymond Bitar, has been arrested in JFK International Airport in New York, accused of running a Ponzi scheme, which allegedly cheated members of online poker sites in United States out of millions of dollars.
The 40-year-old online gambling destination CEO issued a statement through his legal defense stating he has returned voluntary from Ireland in order to face charges set forward against him.
Bitar told United States gambling news: “I know that a lot of people are very angry at me. I understand why. Full Tilt should never have gotten into a position where it could not repay player funds.”
He went on to add: “For the last 15 months, I have worked hard on possible solutions to get the players repaid. Returning today is part of that process. I believe we are near the end of a very long road, and I will continue to do whatever is required to get the players repaid, and I hope that it will happen soon.”
The US Justice Department, the upkeeper of American gambling laws, is alleging Bitar with deceiving Full Tilt’s poker players through lying about security of their deposits. The online poker site had $350 million of worldwide player’s funds to account for, however, only had around $70 million to cover payments.
Moreover, up to $430 million is poker fans winnings allegedly found their way to Bitar and other co-owners of the online poker operator.
Janice K. Fedarcyk, assistant director-in-charge at the FBI, had the following comments: “Bitar and Full Tilt Poker persisted in soliciting U.S. gamblers long after such conduct was outlawed. Now he stands accused of defrauding Full Tilt’s customers by concealing its cash-poor condition and paying off early creditors with deposits from later customers.”
The accusations against Bitar are quite serious, he stands charged with money laundering offenses, bank fraud, and gambling. If convicted, he could face up to 145 years in jail.
Full Tilt Poker was created in 2004, and was the second most trusted and popular online poker operation, until it was shut down by the Justice Department in an event, known as the “Black Friday”.
The company and Bitar himself deny accusations.